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 I have to go to the bathroom! 
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I know this seems like an extremely trivial topic, but it is something that I have seen cause problems in the public schools.
Should bathroom breaks be allowed? Not at all? As a reward? What do you think?
I am asking this question in all seriousness....

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~~Kari Tatum~~


Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:56 pm
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I don't think we can deny a child a trip to the bathroom, but there are some children who abuse the privilege and it doesn't take long to pick up on those students. I think they should be allowed to go, but not if it becomes a distraction in the classroom. When I was in elementary school.. closer to the upper grades I believe, my teacher would let us go down the hall to the bathroom if we went by ourselves. I thought that was a good way to handle the situation because there weren't multiple people out in the halls cutting up and causing trouble. I don't think you'll always be able to determine when the student is up to something and when they really have to go... and I personally do not want to have a parent upset with me when their fourth grade student wets their pants because I was worried about them cutting class and roaming the halls instead of actually going to the bathroom.

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Dani Martin


Tue Nov 04, 2008 8:33 pm
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I agree that some students will take advantage of bathroom priviledges, however students shouldn't be denied a trip to the bathroom. I don't really remember elementary school, but in middle and high school we were given 2 bathroom passes for each class in a semester. Since we had around 7 classes a day it was ample time. Also if we didn't use the passes we got extra credit. In elementary school I think it's important to get to know the students and know who's truthful and who's lying. The last thing that you want to have in your classroom is students wetting their pants, therefore they simply can't be denied at a young age. In class where I tutored one particular student has his desk next to the door so that he could easily slip in and out without disruppting. This method was very successful and didn't put all attention on him.

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Lauren Jennings


Wed Nov 05, 2008 1:15 pm
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As a child who became very anxious before a test, I can tell you that I would have died of embarrassment if I had had a limited number of opportunities to visit the bathroom during a quarter. For me, anxiety completely goofed up my bowels. Questioning my truthfulness would have made it even worse, because I certainly would not have been able to explain what was wrong with me! :oops:

(I didn't really understand it myself until probably after college!)

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Gayle Turner


Wed Nov 05, 2008 2:16 pm
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I don't think students should be denied the right to a bathroom break. As said before, the ones who abuse it are seen fairly quickly. I do think that we as teachers should inform them that they have ample time between classes to use the restroom. There is time to take care of business. The students should be held to a standard and if it becomes apparent that they are abusing the right, then further action should be taken. They should be instructed that while in class, it is advised to only leave to use the restroom f it is an emergency.

With elementary kids, I don't think we should really place much emphasis on this. They are still adapting to their bodies and should be allowed to use the restroom when needed. As stated before, if they are abusing the right, it will become apparent.

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Justin McCrary


Wed Nov 05, 2008 8:39 pm
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I have actually thought about this before...

If I end up teaching elementary school I would have no problem letting kids go to the bathroom. For upper grades (3-5) I would probably ask them to sign out so I could know where my students are at all times. For smaller students, I plan on having a board with different places in the school and each child will put a card on where they're going.

I am also thinking about teaching high school and speaking from experience, I don't think students always have enough time to go to the bathroom between classes. I would probably just let my students go if they needed to. If the trips became excessive or they were out for half of the class, I would talk to the student in private.

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Nikki Tester


Thu Nov 06, 2008 9:45 am
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It always made me so mad when I was denied a trip to the bathroom because i typically wasnt lieing. Unless it is obvious that bathroom breaks are being abused then students she be allowed to go. I have taken a bathroom break Even if I dont have to use the bathroom maybe I just needed a break or to stretch my legs for awhile. After this break I have come back more able to focus and if I wasnt allowed to go I would be focusing on other things like how bad I need to go to the bathroom or how I cant sit here any longer with out dieing.

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Hannah Johnson


Thu Nov 06, 2008 10:55 am
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I believe that for the high school grades bathroom breaks should be limited, but as far as elementary schools the bathroom breaks should be allowed when needed. If the teacher notices that one students is abusing the bathroom privileges then they can deal with that individual student when the problem arises. I know that with the classroom that I'm in right now for Block I the students are allowed to leave to go to the bathroom when they need to, all they have to do is on the way next to the door there is a picture for boys or girls then each student has their own close pin and they just clip it on the picture that applies to them to show that they are in the bathroom so that other students will wait until they return. That way allowing for all to have bathroom breaks when needed, but also limiting the amount of how many at one time to decrease the possibility of unnecessary bathroom breaks. I think that this strategy works pretty well and is a good idea for controlling that particular situation.

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Britini Leigh Murray


Thu Nov 06, 2008 2:05 pm
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In PE bathroom breaks are slightly different than most classrooms because the students are in the locker rooms dressing out before and after class. These are times that its very easy for students to have ample time to use the restroom. Therefore in my class room I plan to have limited bathroom breaks but if a student needs to use the restroom I would permit it, as long as it wasn't during instructional time. Water breaks however are a different story. I believe during Physical education that student should be able to go get water anytime other than instructional time, even without asking permission.


Thu Nov 06, 2008 3:09 pm
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I don't think bathroom breaks should denied to students but there are some exceptions. If you know that a student is going to the bathroom to not use the bathroom but to get out of class, then that bathroom visit should be denied. I think it is a good idea for bathrooms to be in the classroom (that is the way they were at my school from kindergarten to third grade). As children get older their ability to control their bladder usually improves somewhat. So, there should be designated bathroom breaks in the upper grades. If the students don't take advantage of that time then they should have to wait until there is a break in the lesson or an appropriate time to exit the classroom.

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Rebecca D. Evans


Fri Nov 07, 2008 10:25 am
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I don't believe that any student should be denied the chance to go to the bathroom. Student's "holding it" can lead to a lot of health problems...kidney and urinary tract infections, not being ABLE to "hold it," and so on. I don't want to be responsible for this, or for the embarassment of a student who honestly needs to go, and isn't allowed. I don't think that "breaks" between classes, in middle or high school, are ample time due to the fact that the whole school is moving at once...it's nearly impossible for students to get into the bathroom and out on time. I believe that having students sign themselves out (beginning in upper elementary) would be a great way to keep tabs on where your kids are and also to allow you a tracking device of how many times kids are going to the restroom. If you notice a pattern of students going more frequently than you think normal, you could keep a closer eye on that student and if need be talk to the nurse/parents about what may be going on.

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Amanda Klinger


Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:44 am
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I definitely agree with everything that Amanda stated above. Not allowing students to go to the bathroom and having them "hold it" can cause serious health problems for them, as well as the embarrassment of possibly using the bathroom on themselves. I would not want to be held responsible for either health problems or embarrassment of the students. Some type of of tracking system would be a great idea to help keep track of how many times a student uses the bathroom, and help the teacher to decided whether or not the student is actually "going to the bathroom", and not using it as a way to get out of class. This can be a big issue or problem if the teacher allows it, but if the teacher has control of it from the beginning then it shouldn't be a problem.

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Dana Currin


Mon Nov 10, 2008 7:30 pm
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Not allowing a child to use the bathroom or using it as a reward seems unethical. If a child has to go they have to go. I think that you just need to watch for students who are going constantly, but even then I think you have to be careful denying them to be able to use the bathroom. Who are we as teachers to say that a child either has to or does not have to go. I think that teachers should have a system though for using the bathroom so that not everyone goes at once unless that is the way you want to work it.


Tue Nov 11, 2008 10:32 am
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From a b-k perspective, it is important to take EVERY bathroom need seriously. A lot of times in my classroom that I work in, I find when one child has to go to the bathroom, EVERY child has to go. It sounds like somewhere fun to go and goof off which can be frustrating to the teacher. However, usually the first couple of children do have to go. It is a good idea to have regular bathroom times at this age, in the morning, mid day and afternoon. Before and after play, eating, nap, and before they go home are all good times to make sure children have a chance to use the restroom. At this young age most children that I work with (about 3-4 years old) are toilet trained but are still getting used to their bodies and accidents are not uncommon. If bathroom trips are denied it is asking for embarrassing accidents for the child and a mess for the teacher to clean up. It will also cause the child to be scared to ask in the future and to fall into the habit of trying to hold it and further accidents.
For older children, bathroom trips should still never be denied cause needs can change and are never the same for every child. However if it is apparent that some children are abusing the privelege, the child should be spoken to in private. I also agree with what was said earlier about having the children sign out or post on a board where they are going when they leave the classroom.

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Alison K. Scott


Tue Nov 11, 2008 2:34 pm
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I agree with most of these posts. I do not think students should be denied a trip to the bathroom. I think in upper grades they should be able to slip out when they need to as long as the teacher sees the child or knows and only one person goes at a time. In younger grades, I think each request to go to the bathroom should be taken seriously. You never know what might happen. I know there were times in one class in high school(after lunch) when I would get physically sick because I knew the teacher didn't approve of us going to the bathroom ("we should have had ample time at lunch"). It's not always easy for a child to tell you if they have a problem or like Gayle said, why they need to go to the bathroom so much. Like many people have said, if it becomes a problem, you can talk to the student quietly. Also, someone mentioned bathroom passes with extra credit given if they were not used. I also had this system in some of my classes in high school and I hated it. I still felt I couldn't go to the bathroom. I had a desire to make good grades and often felt like I might "need" the extra credit in the class and couldn't risk using them. I know many other students who felt the same way.

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Brittany Norman


Wed Nov 12, 2008 10:54 pm
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I agree with Dr. Turner on this one. Before tests in school, and still to this day, I always went/go to the bathroom right before. It was some kind of tradition.... I guess to insure that I was not going to be distracted during the middle of the test. There is no doubt that some students will take advantage of bathroom privileges. I would like to say that the issue should be on a student to student basis, but that is not politically correct. Therefore, I do not think that you can keep a child from going to the bathroom because you have no way of knowing if it is real or fake. However, I do believe that there should be some kind of limit, or some kind of action taken if you can tell a student is abusing the privilege

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Ryan Earnhardt


Thu Nov 13, 2008 2:45 pm
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I think that a class should have routine bathroom breaks at the same time everyday are very important for a class in elementary school and the number and frequency of breaks should depend on the age, the younger the class the more often you should take these breaks. I think that these bathroom breaks as a whole class where every child is encouraged to try to go will help tremendously with cutting back on bathroom breaks at an inconvenient time. As for individual unplanned bathroom breaks, I believe that students should be able to take them when necessary but it is also very important for students to not abuse taking bathroom breaks. If there is a student that is constantly asking to go to the bathroom I wouldn't cut them off from bathroom breaks, but I would definitely talk to them about how often they are asking to leave the classroom and try to figure out why. They could be trying to avoid a certain time in the classroom or interacting with a certain student and figuring out why this student is needing bathroom breaks so often could open my eyes to other situations that should be handled. I agree that that this is a hard topic, because I have seen both sides of it. I had some teachers that would let students go to the bathroom whenever and consequently students would go to the bathroom to avoid work and say it was an emergency just to get out of the classroom, but I have also been in classes where there were no bathroom breaks no matter how bad the student had to go and I couldn't stand this because when you did have to go they wouldn't let you which made you have to go more. Another very important part of letting students go to the bathroom during class is only allowing one student to go at a time because if more than one student goes you could end up with students hanging out in the bathroom and causing trouble.

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Kelsey McGraw


Sun Nov 30, 2008 12:17 am
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